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Academic Writing: Common Content Errors And How To Avoid Them

Students who are unfamiliar with academic writing often make easily-avoidable mistakes. Many of these errors occur because they view academic writing as being similar in nature to normal writing. For example, writing an academic article with the tone and structure one would use while corresponding with a friend is a recipe for disaster. Academic writing places a lot of importance on technical aspects such as referencing style, word count, and so on and so forth. Before writing an academic article, a writer should look to ascertain the technical and structural requirements that are expected by the person/panel reviewing the work. This can save a lot of strife during the actual penning of the piece.

Errors that tend to crop up

Here are some of the most common errors writers make with regard to writing the content of scholarly articles and essays.

Lack of flow: Very often, evaluators of academic writing submissions find that there is no real flow to the narrative being presented. Addressing the right points in a write-up is undoubtedly important, but clear links between different sections of the work have to be present if the final output is to be academically acceptable.

Subjective narration: Another common error that inexperienced writers make is to include too many references to incidents that have occurred in their own lives. Academic writing, especially in the fields of science, engineering and business management, requires conclusions and findings that are supported by established concepts. Anecdotal evidence being the basis of a research paper, for example, is very unlikely to have a profound impact on a reviewer if it is presented as a standalone piece of evidence.

Sentence fragmentation: Sentence fragmentation is yet another issue that many writers fail to address; for sentences to be meaningful, they need to be complete. An incomplete sentence can result in the formation of the wrong impressions regarding a work in the minds of those who pursue it.

Grammatical mistakes: Grammatical mistakes constitute another bane in the field of academic writing. If one isn't really sure about the use of a particular bit of grammar or if a writer is producing work in a language he/she isn't familiar with, it is advisable to either use simpler sentences or to have a person who is fluent in said language to review the text.

Minimizing mistakes in academic writing

The easiest and most effective measures one can take to drastically reduce the chances of errors creeping into their final submissions ironically do not have anything to do with the actual writing process. Constructing an outline of a writing structure before the commencement of writing and editing after finishing it can help an academic writer produce work that is of a standard acceptable to reviewers.

Other tips to keep in mind while writing include sticking to the correct referencing style; if a writer has any doubts regarding this aspect, he/she should use any sources of information available to clear up these apprehensions.

Paraphrasing is scorned up in many educational circles, and it is thus much better for a writer to quote sources directly instead of trying to increase the word count through rather nefarious means. This holds true to a greater extent when the point the author of the piece is trying to make is basically the same one that the source brought up, but with different wording.

Finally, reading your completed article aloud is a very useful way of confirming its structural flow. At the end of the day, many of these tips will come naturally to writers if they gain enough experience but sadly, a great number of writers choose to be wilfully ignorant of the mistakes they make while producing academic content and of the negative effect these errors can have on the evaluation of their write-ups.

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